Fam­ily’s fes­tive hol­i­day night­mare as agent shuts

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­group.co.uk

A FAM­ILY’S dream Christ­mas hol­i­day in Florida has been shat­tered af­ter the sud­den clo­sure of their travel agents.

The Burgesses, who were due to leave to­mor­row (Fri­day), are now strug­gling to get back the £8,000 they paid.

All 10 Kent branches of the in­de­pen­dent Brock­mans Travel have ceased trad­ing.

Dad Tim Burgess, of Hinx­hill, Wye, said: “We were meant to get our tick­ets 10 days be­fore the trip, and when we didn’t get them I rang the com­pany.

“I got no re­ply and I ended up try­ing all branches in Kent, but there was no an­swer.

“Then I went to the Ash­ford High Street branch and there was a sign say­ing it had closed.”

Mr Burgess, 46, was looking for­ward to a two-week Christ­mas and New Year trip with his wife Debbie, 45, and daugh­ter Susannah, 12.

He said: “We are gut­ted that we can’t go. This was meant to be a hol­i­day of a life­time and it would have been Susannah’s first trip to Amer­ica.”

But Mr Burgess is hope­ful he will now get his money back through ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween trade group the As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tish Travel Agents, and the tour op­er­a­tors.

A sign on the Brock­mans Travel High Street branch now says: “Due to cir­cum­stances be­yond the con­trol of the staff of this of­fice, we will be shut un­til fur­ther no­tice.”

The sign said those with a hol­i­day al­ready booked should con­tact their tour op­er­a­tor or ABTA.

The other Ash­ford branch, in Bank Street, has no no­tice but is empty with a to-let sign.

ABTA spokesman Frances Tuke said: “Brock­mans Travel ceased trad­ing on De­cem­ber 7 and we had ter­mi­nated its mem­ber­ship with ABTA on Novem­ber 4 be­cause of non-pay­ment of debts. We have not been no­ti­fied of any liq­uida­tor and it is not ex­actly known why they ceased trad­ing.”

Brock­mans Travel had a head of­fice at St Dun­stan’s Street, Can­ter­bury, and its other branches were at Ash­ford’s William Har­vey Hospi­tal, Ten­ter­den High Street, Herne Bay, Can­ter­bury Col­lege, Thanet Col­lege, Mid Kent Col­lege, Gilling­ham, Manston and Head­corn.

Cus­tomers who have been af­fected by the clo­sure of Brock­mans Travel should con­tact their tour op­er­a­tors, or the ABTA claims in­quiries of­fice on 01202 596699.

The no­tice on the door of Brock­mans Travel in Ash­ford High Street

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